Michael Totten

Introductory Remarks

by lebanon.profile
The 14 February 2005 assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq al Hariri is sometimes described in Lebanon as our 9/11.
That description is crude. There is no comparison between the two events. However, the sheer emotional devastation the assassination had on all of Lebanon and Lebanese across the world made it difficult to find the right words.
In fact, even I referred to Hariri’s assassination as my second 9/11 just seconds after I walked away from the burning blast site over the debris strewn streets.
Like many Lebanese, I have American citizenship. I was in Chicago on 9/11. That event profoundly effected me.
I also saw the assassination of Hariri. I’ve felt the effects of the bombing campaign that swept Lebanon between February and September.
I’ve watched terror transform two societies.
The 2004 American Presidential election was a very hard moment for me. I couldn’t bring myself to vote. Bush failed far too many times for me to support him. Kerry was too incompetent for his position; it hurt me not to vote for him. Nader, even though he is Lebanese American, lost his competency years ago.
This makes me politically independent. Americans may believe that there aren’t many moderates in the United States or the blogosphere, but they’ve never been to Lebanon. Moderation is almost impossible to find in these parts. Most people who claim to be moderate are, in fact, promoting some sort of self-righteous cause that they believe all other Lebanese must follow.
Religion vs. secularism, the powers of the state, and terror are all Lebanese issues. During my stint pinch hitting for Michael, I’ll delve into some of the major issues that confront both the US and Lebanon. Hopefully, I’ll be able to provide a unique perspective.